If there is one product that could be declared fashionable again it would be the sliding patio door. Despite the rapid and beefy rise of the bi-folding door in recent times, the sliding patio has refused to go away.
Indeed, with a fresh injection of R&D from the aluminium side of our industry, sliders have once again become a product that home owners want to buy. But what is it that keeps sliders going, and what has driven their rise back in popularity over the past few years. Here are three reasons why I think this has happened.
Whilst bi-folding doors have been able to open up spaces as wide as six or seven meters, or maybe more in some cases, it has always been that any potential view of the garden or valleys has to be interrupted by aluminium or PVCu uprights that stand perfectly in the way of that view. And in reality, when do we really get the weather conditions to open up the whole back of the house to let that summer season in? Not much.
But with sliding patio door technology becoming ever more advanced, it’s capabilities are expanding too. I have seen cases where big extension openings of seven or eight metres can be spanned by a three section sliding aluminium patio door, all sections on which slide on to one another, not only maximising the glazing and therefore the view, but also giving the homeowner the big open space they crave to feel outdoors.
This is one big ace in the pack sliders have over bi-folds. The usual maximum width of a sash of a bi-fold in any material is around 1000mm. Sliders however due to the nature of the product can span much wider than that. Taking away the need to for many splits and the breaking up of any view.
If you have a pair of French doors, they either have to open in or open out. Whichever way, you’re losing space in the garden or the room. It’s not entirely different with bi-folds. They have to fold together inside or out, left or right, or both if it’s a big set. Therefore, lost space in either the garden or the room.
The very nature of sliders in that each section slides onto one another means that no usable garden or room space is lost. Important if the property the doors are being installed into isn’t all that big.
Sliding patios are great space savers, and when every homeowners is trying to get the very most out of their properties, it’s important that sliders aren’t taken off of the menu in favour of the more fashionable but sometimes unpractical bi-folds or French doors.
I’m not a massive fan of this particular point, but you cannot deny Brits like a bargain, and there is also no denying that when it comes to bi-folding doors, French doors and sliding doors, it is the sliders that come out cheapest in most price comparisons.
A three section, three metre slider versus a three section bi-fold, be it in PVCu, aluminium or timber, will always be cheaper than the bi-fold. Usually by quite a lot too. For some home owners, it is a gap that is too hard to be ignored, and given that they would get more glazed area anyway, without impacting on room or garden space, it can seem like money well spent and money well saved all at the same time.
I think that the future is very bright for the sliding patio door. The rejuvenation in the aluminium market has seen a raft of new sliders being developed and released into the market place. Some of the new models look absolutely stunning, not a patch on their 80’s counterparts! I also think that before too long we could see a strong resurrection in the tilt and slide patio market, with a product built far better and more reliable than the first generation of tilt and slides.
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